The 2018 Staff Survey of NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts has been published and reveals that more than seven in 10 staff would recommend their organisation to their family and friends for treatment, a proportion that has increased every year for the past four years.
The report shows that increasing numbers of staff would also recommend their own organisation as a place to work. Almost three quarters of staff, 74%, feel enthusiastic about their job, a 6% rise on 2014, and more than four out of five, 81%, are satisfied with the quality of care they give to patients.
While fewer NHS staff report experiencing physical violence from patients, relatives or members of the public, the proportion has only fallen from 15.4% to 14.5%.
Among the areas of concern highlighted by the research is that just under one in five staff report personally having experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at work from other colleagues, an increase from 18% to 19.1%. The number of responses from BME staff rose by 7.1% this year to 78,006, on top of a 21% rise last year, so gives the clearest ever picture of the experience of staff from minority backgrounds.
National performance against the Workforce Race Equality Standard shows a continuing disparity between BME staff and White staff who participated in the survey. There has been an increase of 0.1% of White staff reporting harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public, and a 1.3% increase for BME staff.
However more staff were satisfied with the recognition received for good work, an increase of 3.7%, and over seven in ten agreed they receive the respect they deserve from work colleagues and their manager.
The number that agree there are enough staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly is the highest proportion in the last five years, at 32%.
The NHS aims to improve its safety culture, with increasing numbers of staff reporting both their organisation taking action following errors, incidents or near misses to ensure they don’t happen again and that staff are given feedback about changes made in response to those errors.
A new question in this year’s survey about staff thinking about leaving shows that while some staff are considering moving around the NHS, just 4% want to leave the NHS for another healthcare job while 8% are thinking about a career change.
The survey was carried out between September and December 2018 across 304 NHS organisations garnering 497,000 staff responses, an increase of 10,000 compared to 2017. This takes in views from 40% of the eligible NHS workforce and is the biggest response achieved in the survey’s 16-year history.
The survey is produced as a resource to NHS trusts and commissioners to help them improve staff experience. The Care Quality Commission will use the results to help make sure safety and quality standards are being met and NHS Improvement also looks at the findings which reveal significant variation between individual Trusts, so helping them focus on areas needing attention. NHS England also runs a number of programmes to address issues at national level.
Variations are also seen between different types of NHS Trusts in the results of the survey. Ambulance Trusts continued to report the lowest theme scores despite improvements across the board on last year.
Neil Churchill, director of patient experience at NHS England, said: “NHS staff regularly go the extra mile for their patients and colleagues to deliver the best possible care, but it is equally important that local NHS trusts and foundation trusts are doing all they can to support our fantastic staff.
“Whilst there are a number of positives in this year’s survey, it is also clear that local employers can do more to improve and we would expect all Trusts to listen to the results from their staff survey and take appropriate action.”
The interim proposals from the NHS Workforce Implementation Plan are due to publish in April 2019.
Baroness Dido Harding, chair of NHS Improvement and leading on the NHS Workforce Implementation Plan, said that the results "underline the need to change and improve the culture of the NHS to make sure every member of staff is supported to develop and thrive."
She said: “A key part of the workforce implementation plan is looking at how we can make the NHS the best place to work for current and future staff and to improve our leadership capabilities at team, organisation and system levels.”
For the full survey results, please visit the NHS Staff Survey website.